Famous Portraits – Adele Bloch-Bauer

Born in 1862, Gustav Klimt he impressed his art teachers from the Viena Art School with his talent. Prior to completing his studies he was already taking commissions for money.

Along with a friend and his brother, Klimt was painting themes from mythology and history. But after the death of his father and brother his style changed drastically. He began appreciating female forms as works of art and incorporated this into his works. He was commissioned to decorate the ceiling of the University’s Hall. However the community of art was shocked and disgusted of his nude paintings.

Klimt did not care about their opinion and even gone as far as wanting to return the money and take back the art works. His paintings took a big turn when he began using golden leaves as well as other decorative elements. This period of his career was called the “Golden” period and it is now known as the most prolific. This is when the portrait of a rich industrialist’s wife, Adele Bloch-Bauer, was done.

The full body painting depicts her with her head gently looking to the right while her eyes look towards the viewer. She is wearing her hair pulled up and her neck is covered entirely by a necklace. She holds her hands elegantly up to her chest. Her dress, while yellow as the background, stands out due to its texture and abundance of ornaments.

The portrait of “Adele Bloch-Bauer” was confiscated by the Nazis in 1945 when they occupied Austria, as it was not regarded as art by Hitler. It was later returned to one of Adele’s nieces, Maria Altmann, after a court established in 2006 that she is the rightful owner of the art piece.


Upcoming Famous Portraits Series


I thought it would be interesting if each month I would add a post about a famous portrait.

I will begin this month with Klimt. I will also say a few words about the artist that created the portrait.

Who should I write about next?